Saturday, 30 April 2016

Ales and Jack in the Green!

By Steve the Beermeister:


Well, we all know how busy this 4-day weekend is going to be! Overall, the weather forecast is currently looking not too bad, though Monday morning may well see rain, but we are blessed with 2 special ales for Jack this year, from Harveys is Bogie Man Ale (4.3%), which will be available this weekend, and at the start of the procession on Monday, at the Dolphin Inn, Rock-a-Nore Road (opens at 09.00 on Monday). For further details of the weekend fun, go to the website.

The second ale, brewed by the FILO Brewing Company, Thirst of May (4.1%), will obviously be available at the First In Last Out (FILO) pub, High Street, over the weekend and on Monday (opens at 10.00 on Monday), and also at various other pubs, including The Crown, All Saints Street, and...


The Albion, George Street, is having another beer festival this weekend, starting Saturday evening! Ales available will be pretty similar to those available at the St George's Day festival (link to my blog detailing ales), but will be including the FILO Thirst of May and Harveys mild for CAMRA's Mild May month (website), Knots of May (3%).

I'll see if I can try the 2 ales out before Monday and report back, cheers!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Save the Old Town Hall, High Street!


If you don't want to lose the Old Town Hall, built in 1823 (link to my blog about the history of the building), as a resource for Hastings, there is a group trying to adopt the building for the local community, their next meeting is at Hastings History House , Courthouse Street, on the 4th of May, and here are the minutes from the last meeting, good luck to them! 

Hastings History House

Notes from a meeting re The Old Town Hall held at Hastings History House on 25th April 2016.
16 people present – who introduced themselves, Dick welcomed two representatives from the Hasting Youth Council and said how important it was to the OTHG to have their input.
1] Urbanism Award Ceremony Brigit had been finding out more about this. She reported the award was a framed sketch and poem by the Academy of Urbanisim’s artist and poet in residence. It was possibly to be presented on 21st June date tbc. It was agreed this should happen in the heart of the Old Town at the Old Town Hall with community involvement, it would be a good day to open the building. Ian said he has escorted the judges around and was told community reps would be invited to the prize winners announcement ceremony but this hadn’t happened. Cllr Dawn Poole had emailed the following ‘I had been to visit the Academy of Urbanism about the White Rock area. As well as giving me a copy of the booklet with prize-winners (which included the poem in the latest HOTRA newsletter) the academy agreed to my request to present the award to local residents when it visits Hastings in May.’
2] Funding/grants/shares/Peppercorn rent
Dick reported that Awards for All would fund groups setting up like ours but possibly a 13 week waiting list. Other potential donors might be local trusts, organisations and individuals but there may be a gap before our organisation could register as a CIO. Sponsorship – local shops NISA might be interested, Crowd funding – seemed to be a possibility as the funds were pledged but not claimed until the project was ready to roll. £12.50 - £15 per hour seemed to be the current hire rate for meeting rooms in the Old Town. Mary reported she had look at chair and table hire and the advice was if you want for longer than 2 months it’s best to buy. 2nd hand often on ebay etc.
Staffing would have to be entirely voluntary in the first 6 months. Dick will put together a folder to include a list of groups, suggested programme and a timeline. He would continue to try and contact Treasure Tots to see if they were still interested.

3] Promotion – Dee offered to do some posters; hopefully 2 large ones could go up in the OTH, Brenda will take an A3, Nisa, Roebuck Surgery, might put one up and other local shops; KC [might also put in this magazine]. Dick would get A4 copies. Richard suggested it incorporate a QR code which would take mobile phone users to the website, this was agreed if possible. Dick had included in HOTRA newsletter and would continue to use Parish News. Brigit said taxi firm might hand out flyers. Wording ‘Save the Old Town Hall –we need your help’ or similar.
Social networking, facebook etc. Sam said the Youth Council had already discussed on their facebook page. He and Josh would look into setting up an OTH facebook page. 4] Hastings Embroidery – Cathy Walling [Hastings Museum] estimated that the cost of getting this down and putting it on display to be £5-6000. It would need to be insured. The OTHG had no funds but felt 2016 should be the year it came back to visit Hastings and be on display. The logistics of display were discussed. Given the community interest in this one might expect volunteers to offer to help or contribute to make tit happen. If any of the original embroiders were still in town a ceremony could be held. The Observer had several correspondents recorded and might be willing to publicise.

5] Stallholders –drop off pick up – how would this be managed. Jackie and Ian had experience of this and timed slots was the answer. Market Charges – if an organiser was putting on the Market they might charge entry and they in turn would be charge by the OTHG accordingly.

6] Keyholder KC was willing and Linda had said a ‘signing the key in and out book’ would be kept.

7] Ideas from the Youth Council would be welcomed – artwork and vintage arcade games were some of the ideas they had discussed on facebook. The latter would be added to our list and Sam and Josh were thanked for their contribution.

Dick thanked all for attending and contributing to a positive meeting.
Would you please let Dick know if there is an item you want on the agenda to be discussed and/or bring to the
NEXT MEETING. THIS IS ON WEDS 4TH MAY 6 for 6.30 at Hastings History House

Even More Happening at the Pier!


The front of the Pier is now festooned with pennants created by children from all primary schools in Hastings and St Leonards, plus some from schools further out!


The Deck, above the Visitors' Centre, has opened today, with cheerful and friendly staff, as you can just about see, a wee bit dark, sorry; so you can eat and drink upstairs here, as well as at the old Pavilion towards the front of the Pier now. The seating here is protected from the wind by clear strengthened glass, so no spoiling the view, and is very comfy.


Talking about seating, more benches were being added as I photographed; these made from recovered decking from the old Pier, as is the cladding around the Visitors' Centre. 

Oh! I've also discovered that fishing from the Pier will be allowed at specified times and timetables will be available soon. To keep in touch with developments and with details of events, gigs etc, see the Pier's new website.

Before I go somewhere else with blogs...


It was a better day weather-wise yesterday, so, yes, I did feel the need to return to the Pier and take a few more photographs, before the Jack in the Green blogging starts!




Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Beer on the Pier, cheers!


Hastings Pier opened its gates today, so I decided to christen the pier with a bottle of their 'special' ale, 1872 Blonde Ale (3.7%), Harveys re-badged Wild Hop ale, brewed using a combination of wild Sussex hops and Cascade hops, not bad!  


Open gates, and a short film on the BBC South East Today facebook page!  


Where I drank my beer, and a selection of other photographs below...


Remember, the Pier has a new website. Also, confirmation that dogs on leads will be allowed onto the pier out of season, ie from October until the end of April (so you have a few days left!), though not in buildings, at events, or on the Upper Deck of the Visitors Centre. Of course, this is excepting assistance dogs, that are allowed on the pier all year; this is the same as the rules on the beach next to the Pier.


The Visitors Centre, not open just yet, but will be very soon. 

 End of the Pier

Looking back to land, way over there! 

Looking over to the east. 

If you're feeling lazy! 



The building in the centre, which used recovered and refurbished boards from the original pier platform, it looks much better up close! 

View from on top of Visitors Centre 


Remembering, there will be a cafe, and bar, I believe, up on top too! 

Walking down from the roof 



That's all for now, folks, enjoy! 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Monday, 25 April 2016

Hastings Pier, it's getting there, and a new website!


More music booked on the pier for September, including The Levellers and Happy Mondays, and a new website...

We're getting there! 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The London Marathon and Memories of Friends.

Debbie McSweeney R.I.P.

Memories, eh? It was just a year ago, when Paul Denny completed the London Marathon, despite carrying an injury (blog), ran in honour of Hastings nurse and well-known local character, Debbie, and raised over £1,100 for Macmillan Nurses in Sussex.  

Paul Denny

Different things stimulate our memories, smells, events, dates, whatever... for those running in the London Marathon this year, good luck and best wishes! 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Hastings Beach Clean this morning

Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium has invited local people to take part in a beach clean this morning. Staff have organised the event to start at 10am on the stretch of beach beside the aquarium and they’re hoping to attract a large number of local people to come along and give their support, and it is a lovely blue-sky day! 


 Volunteers will be issued with collecting bin bags, a pair of gloves and a reporting form to record their finds. “Hastings Council has kindly agreed to provide us with a selection of litter picking tools and we need some energetic volunteers to come along and lend a hand,” said Blue Reef’s Leanna Lawson.

“The plan is to meet up at the aquarium at 9.30am on the day so everyone can be registered and issued with cleaning items, datasheets and beach clean booklets. All the rubbish that we collect will be brought back to the aquarium where it will be separated out and individually itemized. After that we will recycle as much of it as we possibly can, while the rest will be disposed of safely.” 

Anyone under the age of 17 who wants to take part will need to be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers are asked to contact Blue Reef to confirm their attendance prior to the event. They should also wear sensible footwear and clothing and bring sunscreen if the weather is hot. 

The beach clean event is due to take place from 10am (meet in aquarium cafĂ© for 9.30am). Anyone interested in taking part should contact the aquarium direct prior to the event on 01424 718776, though I doubt volunteers who turn up unexpectedly would be turned away!

St George's Day Festival of English Ale!


The Albion, in George Street, Hastings, is holding a Beer Festival this weekend, together with music, of course... 


In addition to their regulars, Dark Star Hophead, Harveys Sussex Best and Timothy Taylor Landlord, you might just be able to imbibe up to 10 other ales from near and far! 


From Sussex brewers, there will be Dark Star Sunburst (4.8%), Beachy Head Legless Rambler (5%), Rother Valley Chocolate Porter (4.2%), Harveys Armada Ale (4.5%), and their pertinent Georgian Dragon (4.7%); and from Kent, though the brewer himself comes from much closer to home, there will be Pig & Porter Red Spider Rye (4.8%) and Skylarking (4%), a session pale ale.


From further afield will be Adnams Mosaic Pale Ale (4.1%), from way up int' North, Manchester brewery Marble Pint (3.9%), and across from Cornwall, St Austell Spring Fever (4.1%).

Have fun, and Happy St George's Day to you!

Rail Service at risk of more disruption next week!


Southern Rail is being threatened with disruption by striking RMT conductors on the 26th and 27th April, for more details go to the Southern website.

Friday, 22 April 2016

RNLI Collection Box Record now with the Dolphin Inn.


RNLI members presented Mark Little, landlord of the Dolphin Inn at Rock-a-Nore, with a trophy on Wednesday, after counting the money deposited in the latest collection box from the pub, which came to a whopping £296.93, the most money ever counted in a single collection box by Hastings RNLI! 

Congratulations to Mark and his family, staff and patrons of the Dolphin, well done!  

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Royalty comes to town.


Yesterday, the Duke of Gloucester came to town, and here, the Police and special types of security staff were on show (YES!), I kept trying to get photographs, but kept missing him! Rock-a-Nore Road was incredibly clean though, with the big hoover on wheels going up and down about 4 times, and Sara, the street cleaner doing similar about 5 times!


Anyway, he not only visited the Jerwood Gallery, but went up the East Hill in the lift and unveiled a plaque at The Source Park as an official opening. Thanks to Hastings Borough Council for this photograph; though I wish he'd stayed still long enough for me! 


Bye bye Duke, from the West Hill!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Learning opportunities at Hastings Library...

I have just received an email from East Sussex Library Services...


Did you know that the Library Service offers online courses, at the library or at home, with support and guidance available from a tutor? In Hastings Library you are able to sign up to a range of learndirect English, Maths and ICT courses. Although the learning is online, the courses are for people at all levels, from beginners who have never touched a computer to experienced computer users who want to gain a qualification. They assess your needs and help you select a course that suits you...

In the last 12 months nearly 200 new qualifications have been gained through learndirect courses in East Sussex libraries. Students have used the skills gained through these courses to secure new jobs and new volunteering opportunities. These courses are open to everyone, to find out more visit your nearest library, call us on 0345 60 80 196, or go to the East Sussex website.

Don't forget, the Children's Library, Robertson Passage, is the acting main library for now.

Casper in Rock-a-Nore...

Having been away up int' North (of here), I've missed a few things, such as the introduction of Casper, a rare albino shark, to the Blue Reef Aquarium!


Nicknamed ‘Casper’ by keepers, after the friendly ghost, the little white shark shares his spacious new home with a collection of triggerfish. “True albinism in marine species in general is highly unusual and it’s virtually unheard of in sharks,” said Blue Reef Aquarium’s Leanna Lawson.

“As well as being rare, white or albino sharks do not tend to survive for long in the wild as they rely on their natural camouflage to protect them from larger predators. For this particular shark to have successfully reached adulthood and to be in such good condition demonstrates Casper is either very lucky or very smart,” she added. 


Albinism is due to gene mutations that affect the production of pigmentation. True albino animals lack melanin, are white with no markings and have unpigmented pink eyes. In some species there is also a form known as blue-eyed albinism. 

Like all members of the shark family, lesser spotted dogfish do not have a skeleton made of bone, but instead have very tough cartilage to support their bodies. This makes them very flexible, and they can bend in any direction. They have teeth and jaws that are adapted to crushing up invertebrates and skin that is tougher and rougher than sand paper. 

Yet another reason to visit the Aquarium, enjoy!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Annie Brassey at the Museum...


Starting today at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery an exhibition about Anna 'Annie' Brassey, wife of Thomas Brassey, 19th century Hastings MP, for whom what is now the main library in Hastings (currently closed for refurbishment, as I have recently written), was built in 1878 (history of the Brassey Institute). Annie was a well-known voyager and writer in her own right... The exhibition, called "In the Footsteps of Annie", carries on until the 3rd of July (more details at the Museum's website).  

Friday, 15 April 2016

Hastings Pier and a myth or rumour, or two?


Further to my recent blog, I can confirm that plans are afoot to try to open the pier this month, but nothing definite yet, apparently, though the Jack in the Green Programme already has Morris Dancers on the Pier on Sunday 1st May between 12.30 and 2pm; keep your eyes open for an earlier opportunity...


As you can tell from this photograph, I've been clambering around and under the Pier recently, but to the rumours alluded to above... First, there will be NO charge to go onto the Pier, excepting for attending gigs etc, so, it will be gratis, free, zero charge! If you hear anyone say anything else, and I've heard a £4 charge rumoured, that is codswallop, you can put people straight on that (I've been talking to someone very much in the know). 

Secondly, Harry Ramsden's are NOT going to be on the Pier, though there is truth behind their having been interested, but their model wasn't acceptable to the Pier Charity, Jamie Oliver had been in contact, but not for him I believe, and local trainees will gain experience in the restaurant in the old pavilion. There will be a separate cafe in the middle of the Pier, an information centre, and a bar...  

I trust this helps, it certainly hasn't dampened my enthusiasm!

Monday, 11 April 2016

The Anchor Next Door...


No! Not the pub, but the anchor next door to the Stacey Marie (facebook) in Rock-a-Nore Road, which used to be situated on the pier until work started there in 2013. Previously, according to the plaque on the anchor, this anchor had been employed during the laying of a "sewage out-fall pipe off West St Leonards in 1985." So, no, if you're asked by students, this isn't the anchor they're looking for, that's up by the Fishermen's Museum...